This period saw rapid changes in world events and back in the USA – such major events as: Princess Di’s divorce and subsequent death; the world wide web grew to become a major force for change, mobile/cell phones became a must have, Panama Canal was given back to the Country of Panama, Fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the USSR, inflation dropped from the highs of over 10 percent to 2 percent, Terrorism in Oklahoma City and NY World Trade Center, Earthquake of 1989, Y2K fears and fizzle.
Back in Oakdale, the Oakdale Lions took on some new roles for programs. At the beginning of this period, the following standard projects, annual projects and fundraisers continued:
Fundraisers: Annual Flag billing to retailers, Pancake Breakfast, Calendar Project. As new needs developed, the Lions took on more fundraisers: the Fall Fundraiser was added in the mid 1990’s; the Children’s Shopping Tour lost its sponsorship from the Jaycee’s and Kiwanis, so the Oakdale Lions picked up this major project as well. The Don Osborne Run was started to support the Library. Each year, some new fundraisers came along at certain events, yet in all cases, 100 percent of the funds received from the community were returned to the community.
Annual Projects that received funds and service labor: Flags, Eye Glasses for the needy, Camp Scholarships, College Scholarships, Community Sharing, Student Speaker Contest, AFS Exchange, All Star Football game, Mexicali Mission Trips, Jr. Miss Pageant.
Also, during this period, the Lions added the following New annual projects: Children’s Christmas Shopping Tour (1998), Library support from the Don Osborne Run, Youth projects from the Fall Fundraiser received a boost of $5000 per year. These three added programs increased the funds generated by the Oakdale Lions by 300 percent, and the winding of the town clock also became a regular weekly activity for the Oakdale Lions.
Special Projects were many during this period, including the upgrade of playgrounds at two elementary schools, including the addition of a basketball court/hoop at one school. A close relationship with the High School’s music program and sports program allowed for the High School, Junior High and Elementary Schools to advertise the Lions Annual pancake breakfast. The Oakdale Baseball organization’s scoreboard needed upgrades and maintenance. A Bench was donated to the Library in honor of Don Osborne. The Eye Mobile program also started during the 1990’s – traveling to schools to test kids for sight issues.
The Oakdale Lions also continued and expanded their club visits to other clubs in the area: Linden, Modesto, Sonora, Merced, Tracy, Stockton, Escalon and many other clubs throughout the district.
And, during this period, several Lions passed away, including: Bill Gilbert, Dallas Ott, TL Davis, Don Osborne, Don Most, Clarence Merrihew … And, this closes out the 20th Century for the Oakdale Lions.
Total Value of goods and services provided to the Community of Oakdale, including funds raised and adjusted for inflation to 2017 and labor hours estimated times a rate of $22.00/hour (double the current minimum wage) through 2000 is: $8.6 Million.
The Oakdale Lions Club is marking its 75th anniversary this year and, as part of the celebration, Lion Damon Woods has compiled a history of the organization. Next month will feature the final full installment prior to the anniversary celebration, with the September article, Part VI, covering the years 2001 to 2017.